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Throwback Thursday (a day early)

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Here's a bone oni mask from 2007, and its accompanying ojime, and owl mask/transformation.

They are made of beef bone with Siberian jet paste-style inlays and an amber inlay for the oni's eye.

I can't find a size listing for this set, but there is a dime in some of the images for scale. I'm also a little irritated at myself for not taking any good pictures of the back side- I didn't think I'd be wanting to show that to anyone back then! It's basically a bridge-shaped arch of bone spanning the mask from side to side that the cord passes under.

I also wish I'd taken a few more views of the ojime when it was finished. Seems I only have some in-process photos, and only one that shows a little bit of the jet shading used to highlight the "feathers" on the finished bead. Oh well. 

I had been looking at a lot of Inuit art and was fascinated with depictions of half-and-half transformation masks. Inuit masks and carving are some of my favorite artwork to look at when I need inspiration.


Oni mask:



owl mask/transformation ojime:
5a0362b537b11_ojimeowlmasksmallfacing013.jpg.cab6dd558158ae8b39121568772370b0.jpg  5a0362b59d6b5_ojimeowlmasksmallprofile008.jpg.aa4be3647e71e6c9bd64da66e74f01cc.jpg


5a0362b61f32a_ojimeowlmasksmallthreequarter001.jpg.0fda3dc801cc1ddf1c4e4985a48901df.jpg  5a0362b692a73_ojimeowlmasksmallwing018.jpg.a724a6d487ad97d63021c3dd9cb08311.jpg




You can see just a little bit of the jet inlay between the feathers in this one, and the roughed- in mask



Wet jet inlay paste filling the lowest pocket underneath where the eye inlay will go. The next step was to cover the iris area with gold leaf, then adhere the amber dome on top of that. I believe I had just read what Janel had written about how she does those gorgeous frog eye inlays and wanted to give it a try. 


netsuke oni mask 012 closeup.jpg

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Hi Bonnie,

It is interesting that you adhered the gold leaf first to the bone and then the amber.  I had not thought of that, I guess because the surface of the inlay pocket was not made with the iris/pupil in mind, just a flattened surface.  This is indeed something to ponder for a future eye solution.  It could be so much simpler than the way I was doing it by applying the leaf to the amber iris.  

Did you carve the jet inlay for the half/half eye?  What do you mean by wet jet inlay paste?  Wet with an adhesive that solidifies or cures?  What you did is effective.


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Hi Janel,

The wet paste inlay technique can be done a couple of ways, depending on the coarseness of the grind of your inlay material and the viscosity of the adhesive.

For this piece, I took fine jet dust from filing a piece of jet with a fine file and mixed it with just enough epoxy to make a paste. I then used a toothpick and a needle to fill the little pupil cavity in the eye. I did the same for the little half-and-half inlaid face. Once it has cured, you can file or shave the hardened paste down to the material's surface. With this method, I try to get as much of the inlay material into the paste mix as possible, so there is a good color density and richness. If there are low spots after the first application, more layers of paste can be added, cured, and shaped until the desired surface is reached. 

The other way I've done it is the dry packing way.  That is when I carve a channel and then pack it with the ground inlay material. Once the channel or pocket is full, a low-viscosity adhesive is introduced to the surface and is pulled down into the pocket of inlay material by capillary action. For deeper inlays, to ensure it bonds well to all internal surfaces, I will often lay it in in layers. This method works well when the inlay particles are a bit coarser than sawdust and the adhesive is very low viscosity, like low viscosity watery CA glue. This method also seems to work best with non-wood materials since the cellulose in wood sawdust catalyzes the CA glue and prevents it penetrating between the granules or particles of inlay material all the way to the bottom before hardening. I learned about that the hard way! I have used this method with materials like ground turquoise, pearl, and other similar materials, and it works well for larger granules of materials that don't contain celluose.

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